May 27, 2010

The Moose

Day 208

I used to own a bow back before I served my LDS mission and I would participate in a league. Every Saturday I would meet my dad and his friend and we would shoot the bow. I learned to be pretty good at shooting and even won a trophy for 2nd place in my age division.

Just ignore my hideous hair. If I had hair like that now I would get a better haircut.

But the bow was not just for recreational shooting it was meant to hunt. Every other Saturday or so we would go up to a special place up in the mountains to shoot our bows. Only this time there would be various animal dummies at different distances. That was a lot of fun, drinking Dew and hiking around the mountains looking for fake animals to shoot.

And then finally we all went hunting. I have been hunting a couple of times before but that was with a gun. This time I would be going with a bow and by myself. My dad and his friend would take a different mountain to hike and we would each have our own watering hole.

Now let me tell you, my experience with hunting deer with a gun was a completely different experience than with my bow. Instead of freezing my butt off, I was nice and toasty (since the bow deer hunt is earlier) and you do not have to fight other hunters. I was the only guy on that mountain. Just me and the animals. And there were a lot more animals than I thought there would be.

We set me up with a ground stand about twenty yards from the watering hole. I had a clear shot to it. I sat in front of a tree and was decked out in full camo. You have to be extremely quiet and still and patient when bow hunting. So I would sit and watch. But it was peaceful and you can really be alone with your thoughts.

What I found to be real interesting was watching the animals take turns to go to the watering hole. I noticed first that the smaller animals (mice, squirrels) would go first and then the larger animals would take their turn. So I knew eventually that a buck (male deer) could be heading my way. You would think that you might get bored waiting and waiting (you would be up there waiting for hours) but you don't. I remember that I was entertained by a pair of mice that would run around my hiking boots. One would try to pull my laces while the other run chased it. I also had a squirrel that would run along the branch right behind me.

Then a deer came into the watering hole. I was elated. I got myself ready and watched the deer come in. But it was just a doe (a deer! a female deer!) and it brought with it two little baby deer. I could take a doe but it had fawns so I just watched them take turns drinking. The mom watched first as her little ones drank and then cautiously she bowed her head and drank while her kids played. It was a lot of fun watching the kids play. They ran all over the place and at one point was only a few feet in front of me. While the mom was drinking one of the baby deer ran into the other and crashed into it sending it into a bush making a loud sound. It frightened the mom and she instinctively called for her kids which in turn scared them. I thought it was pretty funny that they were all scared especially since it was one of her kids that made the noise that scared them.

They eventually left and I looked up on the mountain and saw a large black thing walking. I thought it was a cow because there were some cows around from a rancher. But it was not a cow at all. It was something much larger and far more scary than a cow. And it wasn't a bear either.

It was a MOOSE!

He looked like this fella. Not one of the largest racks on a moose but still one big enough to serve me dinner on.

So here I am just minding my own business when I suddenly heard this huge crashing noise coming from the right! This moose just came crashing through like it owned the watering hole. It didn't care what was in its way at all. This was perhaps the largest animal I have ever seen and I was getting a personal view. It had a pretty large rack and it positioned itself right in front of me, only ten to twenty yards away from me. It leaned down and slurped up the water like a noisy vacuum. My heart was beating so fast. I was amazed and at the same time quite intimidated by this animal.

And then it stopped drinking and used its huge honker of nose to sniff the air. And then it turned and looked right at me! It knew I was there, he couldn't see me but he knew I was there. It sniffed a few more times and I was beginning to feel a little worried. And then it went back to drinking and I felt better. I was beginning to relax just a little when it stopped drinking and looked right at me again. But this time he took a couple of steps in my direction. I could feel my heart beat and my blood boil. It walked closer to me and was sniffing me out.

I wish it was only Bullwinkle. I would have had a hoot talking with him.

I had to make a decision and I had to make it quick. The moose knew I was there and was determined to figure me out. It took another couple of steps closer. I am sure the moose was wondering just what the heck I was. It was so close that I could have taken my arrow and smacked it on the nose. And that thought did cross my mind which was then followed up by me imagining the moose trampling me to pieces. So I slowly took my arrow and wiggled the small suckling beside me. I definitely got its attention and it backed off a little bit. I continued to strike the tree until he was back at the watering hole.

I was thinking that I was safe but that feeling didn't last long at all. It again came towards me but this time it seemed a little more brave. It was not being cautious anymore, it wanted to figure me out. So I decided to go all out. I knocked my arrow in my bow and jumped to my feet and called out to the moose making a huge racket as I did. I must have called that moose every dirty, filthy name in the book and I was ready to shoot it if I had too. And luckily, I didn't. It stayed for a few minutes backing down but it still kept his eyes on me. Finally it took off up the mountain. I must have spooked it good and I knew that it was that black thing I spotted coming down the mountain earlier.

It was time for me leave anyway and I honestly didn't want to be there anymore too. As I was packing my stuff up something came up behind me. It was a large Elk and it snorted at me too. I was outta there! I ran down to the truck to meet my dad and his friend.

I would go up to the same watering hole the next week. I'll blog about what happened then later.

So get this. I am at my dad's writing this and we were remembering and he told me that he was visited by a mom moose and a couple of calves at that same watering hole. But then he told me another story that I have never heard. He and his friend went up there and my dad was at the same watering hole. Only this time he was not hunting so he had no weapons and no camo. And he was sitting there when he saw something that looked like a fox come in only it was larger. It was a mountain lion! He watched it circle the watering hole and take a drink and my dad felt the same way I did. Amazed and scared. And then the cougar decided to take a siesta. It plopped down and rested while my dad watched. And it was getting dark. Luckily it got up and left and my dad scrambled down the mountain.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you hunted (is that right?!?! hunted?!?! Went hunting?!?!) By the way, I love the hair in this picture... you remind me of Jeremy at that same age.